Iowa pitcher Brady Schanuel breaks down his dominant outing. Dargan Southard/Hawk Central
IOWA CITY, Ia. — On the backend of a doubleheader with ominous weather approaching, Iowa needed Brady Schanuel to keep a swift pace going.
After some early self-induced traffic, the Hawkeyes right-hander was nothing short of brilliant.
Schanuel twirled seven dominant innings and yielded no hits after the game’s second batter, propelling the Hawkeyes to a 5-1 win and a Friday split against Indiana at Duane Banks Field. The Hoosiers knocked off Iowa, 4-2, in the opener.
Staring down a series loss in their conference-opening weekend, Schanuel picked up the Hawkeye slack. He retired the final 10 Hoosiers he faced and finished with 11 strikeouts, stifling an Indiana offense that racked up 11 hits in Game One.
The late shutdown arrived after early success and some maddening inconsistency. Schanuel walked four and was repeatedly in deep counts through the first four innings, but the Parkland College transfer still piled up seven strikeouts to keep Indiana off the board.
"I was just not trying to do too much and throw strikes and throw to my spots," Schanuel said. “If I get a strikeout, fine. If they get weak contact, even better.”
Earlier in the week, Iowa coach Rick Heller pinpointed Schanuel’s wild effectiveness as his biggest issue so far. The right-hander needed 90-plus pitches to get through each of his previous two starts, and Friday’s 110 pitches marked a season high.
But Heller let Schanuel work through it, trusting his weekend workhorse to find a rhythm late. He did and eventually gave way to Zach Daniels, who surrendered one run but kept Indiana from making a serious threat.
"The big thing is Brady doesn’t let things snowball emotionally when he does walk a guy or puts two guys on," Heller said. "He usually buckles down and pounds the zone and gets himself out of the jam, which tells you he’s doing a good job of playing it one pitch at a time."
The Hawkeyes’ instant offense certainly helped.
After mustering four hits in the opener, Iowa sprinted out to a 3-0 lead in the second thanks to a bulk of two-out magic. Hoosiers starter Pauly Milto retired the first two Hawkeyes in each of the first two innings, then yielded a combined seven two-out base runners.
Matt Hoeg and Justin Jenkins picked up RBIs in the first, and Tyler Cropley followed with a run-scoring double in the second. Chris Whelan and Cropley added solo homers late to expand the cushion.
A few more crucial knocks like that could’ve put Iowa in position to sweep. Indiana’s Game One starter Jonathan Stiever was on his game — three hits and one run allowed in seven frames — but the Hawkeyes still went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Iowa brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth with nobody down, but Hoosiers closer Cal Krueger mowed down the next three to cement the win. Southpaw Nick Allgeyer yielded three runs in seven innings but gave up 10 hits, including solo homers to Logan Kaletha and Matt Lloyd.
“Nick consistently gives us a chance to win,” Heller said, “and in that game, there were some opportunities to score — and we didn’t. Lose 4-2, but only three runs (given up) through seven innings (from Allgeyer). I’ll take that.”
With only 45 minutes or so in between games, Iowa didn’t have time to dwell.
“Coach Heller came in right away (in between games) and said, ‘Hey guys, we don’t have a lot of time to hang our heads on this one,’” Whelan said. “’We’ve just got to turn around and play our game and play how we know how to play.
“I think that really stuck with us because the locker room was pretty quiet for the first 10-15 minutes.”
With snow scheduled to hammer Iowa City on Saturday, the Hawkeyes will have to wait until Sunday to try for a pivotal series win. But Schanuel’s outing brought back the energy postgame.
“Every time you lose a game,” he said, “you try to come out with a little extra fire in the next game and a little extra focus.”
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.